Aussies are trialling a Kiwi scheme of asking
every patient they see whether they smoke or not in an effort to
help smokers give up the habit.
Seven sites in Victoria in December began
trialling the Kiwi scheme where it is compulsory to ask, record and
report the smoking status of every patient admitted to
Anaesthetist David Bramley says by asking at
this stage, medics can offer advice and support to stop smoking
from the moment they see a patient.
"Anaesthetists care for patients before, during
and after surgery. Helping them stop smoking is one of the many
things we can do to improve both surgical and general health
outcomes," Dr Bramley said.
"This is something health care workers in
Australia are keen to do as well, but it isn't possible unless we
ask the direct question of whether a patient is a smoker or
Dr Bramley says patients often make multiple
visits to hospital, which gives medical professionals a perfect
opportunity to educate patients and support them to stop
"People are very vulnerable at the time of
surgery and are more likely to make decisions that will help their
While Australia looks at this plan, the New
Zealand Parliament's health committee has given the green light to
introduce Australia's scheme of plain packaging for cigarettes,
though legislation won't be introduced until a legal challenge in
Australia is settled.